Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wizards fall short against Mavericks

With about six seconds left and the Wizards trailing by one, Flip Saunders decided to get Caron Butler the ball to give him a chance to win the game. That plan didn't work out, though, as Shawn Marion read Butler's move and blocked his shot to give the Mavericks a tough road win.

I have to say, though, that I was proud of the Wizards for not throwing in the towel last night. With about seven minutes left in the third quarter, the Mavericks were up 11 (62-51), but the Wizards fought back and eventually took the lead early in the fourth quarter -- and that's despite Antawn Jamison having one of his worst games this season (seven points on 2-10 shooting and only three rebounds).

The Wizards were led by Brendan Haywood (13 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks), Butler (20 points, 10 rebounds), and Randy Foye (26 points, three assists). Mike Miller played a solid 31 minutes off the bench (eight points, three rebounds, four assists) and, of course, only took five shots. He also made both of his three-point attempts. Earl Boykins (11 points, three assists) and Andray Blatche (eight points, four rebounds, two blocks) also played pretty well coming off the bench. Blatche played pretty good defense on Dirk Nowitzki on a few possessions, which is noteworthy since the Wizards don't usually play much defense.

Two other notes:

-- I still don't understand why DeShawn Stevenson is playing anything more than a few minutes a game. He didn't score a point last night, missing all three of his shots in 17 minutes. His only other contribution was a single rebound (and two turnovers!). The only reasonable excuse for playing Stevenson would be if he was an elite defensive player, which he is not. At this point in his career, I'm not sure that he's even a much better defensive player than someone like Nick Young, who is apparently in the doghouse again and has played just three minutes combined in the last two games. Do you realize that Stevenson isn't even shooting 30 percent from the field? Right now, he's shooting 28.8 percent; the only other shooting guards shooting worse than that are Daequan Cook (28.6 percent) and Lindsey Hunter (16.7 percent). It's time to stop the madness, Flip.

-- It remains to be seen whether or not Foye can be a point guard, but still, he's averaging 16.5 points and 5.1 assists in January and is shooting much better from the field this month too (48.2 percent). With the team's only other point guard option being Earl Boykins (unless you count Mike James, who never plays), then it's worth it for the Wizards to keep Foye at the one to see what he can do. For two interesting articles on Foye, check out Truth About It and Empty the Bench.

The Wizards, now 14-27 on the season, host Miami on Friday.

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